A special person died recently.
She was not a close friend. If she had to list the people in her life that she impacted, I would probably not make the list.
But I should.
She was a member of a weekly book group. A place that now feels like home.
The first time I arrived at the book club, I had just moved hundreds of miles away from the place that I called home for 35 years. After losing my husband, my career, a cherished home, my health and beloved pets, among other things, I was floundering. I had to build a new life in the depth of grief, with no road map. So, when I arrived, I avoided eye contact because I didn’t want anyone to see my brokenness.
But she looked up at me and gave me a welcoming smile. I sat next to her, feeling safe in that moment.
That was it, just a small gesture.
Grand gestures such as scientific and medical breakthroughs, inspired leadership, and charitable projects can improve our lives tremendously. Grand gestures are what moves us forward as a society.
But small gestures? Those are what makes us human.
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.